Chapter 11- Time Goes on
The team's heads hung low, grim features on each face, and a feeling of loss rolled off the team in waves. Megan cringed at the feel of the room; she could only imagine how much worse it would get in the upcoming minutes.
Those agonizing seconds did not have the characteristic of mercy, so they stretched on seemingly infinitely. Maybe dread filled them, or maybe it was relief when the booming Dark Knight's voice rung out in the room.
Superboy was the first to have to look into the emotionless white slits. He clenched his firsts and stared into them, it bothered him to see such an emotionless face. Aqualad took a step forward and Superboy could see the Atlanteans legs tremble.
Batman scanned the teen's faces. He did not need an explanation; he needed the details of HOW it happened.
The leader's voice remained calm but the tension in his shoulders revealed his emotions.
"What happened?" It was a simple question, albeit the way he said, it did not sound that way, but he could not answer for several minutes.
Artemis walked away from the confrontation with Batman in awe. Hearing about the loss of his partner and Kid Flash barely caused a slight twitch. From her perspective, it looked as if he shook it off in a second, ready to hear more of the story.
Artemis sighed as she removed her uniform and stepped into her civvies. She left the cave without saying goodbye.
She stepped out of the phone booth and into the crisp Gotham air. She began her walk slowly and silently. As the archer walked, she felt goose bumps rise on her pale skin, someone was following her, and she twisted around just in time to see two white dots….and then nothing.
Inque dropped down and enveloped the girls head with her ink form. She blindly clawed at Inque but it did nothing, and soon she fell to the ground. Unconscious.
And Inque thought it would be a challenge. Pity.
She glared at the unconscious heap that was the archer. Feeling a moment of sympathy for the girl, she shook it off once she thought of the money.
Just as the mysterious assailant began to reach for her device, something stopped her and pinned her to the wall behind her.
"I don't know whether it's the sharpness of the arrows tip or the speed it flies," Inque turned with wide eyes, "but they never seem to notice it hit its target."
Her eyebrows drew together in confusion and bewilderment flowed through her veins, bewilderment quickly turned to horror once she saw what this person spoke of earlier. A sharp arrow with red cresting stuck out of her shoulder. Inque immediately recognized it as a rankling arrow, which is an arrow with a detachable head that will remain in her shoulder if she removed the arrow. Gross.
Narrowed eyes searched the dark alleyway and met the masked eyes of…
She searched her clouded mind and managed to place a name. Red Arrow.
She smiled sinisterly and played on his weakness that she hoped was right.
"You know, in my time, you're still remembered as the failed protégé."
Her hopes came to life once she saw the archer's mask narrow in both confusion and irratation. Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she slipped into her ink form and bounced off the wall the arrowhead had pierced, leaving only a small trace of her skin.
Attempting to pull the same move on the older bowmen, she jumped towards him. He swiftly back flipped and drew another arrow out of his quiver. He fired it before his feet met the ground and watched as it flew towards the mysterious woman.
Inque only had a moment to prepare herself for the blow that was sure to come. The arrow exploded on impact and she shrank back into the phone booth. She grunted and immediately retaliated, her ink arm hardened into a makeshift blade and she swiftly cut his leg.
God, she wished she would remember more about his past. Nevertheless, nothing came up besides Green Arrow. Inque's very chatty, but when she knows nothing about her combatant, there's nothing to tease.
He barely noticed the deep cut on his thigh. His focus divided between Artemis and the woman. As much as he hates to admit it, Artemis and him had grown close.
Inque observed his distracted stance while he watched Artemis, and then she lunged once again. This time, however, with her hand hardening to a mace like ball.
Instead of hitting her target, he swiftly dodged her and pulled another arrow out of his quiver. He anchored it and let it go, a trick arrow which exploded on impact. He repeated that and eventually he could see Inque snarling.
Inque increasingly became bored of the explosions and lunged for the time device. She grabbed the girl and slammed her hand against the device, hearing Red Arrow scream Artemis, and then instantaneously sending them to her time.
That was the last time Roy ever saw Artemis, but that did not mean he didn't try to find her.
"Sir? I'm sorry to bother you but you have a meetin-"
Derek smiled forcefully and gritted through clenched teeth, "Cancel. It."
His assistant, finally grasping the man's personality, closed the door without another word.
"Idiot," he murmured
The clock ticked in the corner and put Derek on the edge. Impatience, a word the practically described Derek, was exactly how he felt now. Not one person in this putrid town didn't know of his flaw, and that is exactly how he wanted it. That way, he wouldn't ever have to deal with waiting.
This time, he was waiting on a criminal to bring him what he wanted. However, she obviously was inexperienced so he supposed she deserved something of a break.
…Time travel should be instantaneous.
His fingernails drummed against his mahogany desk, he pondered with a deep scowl. His plan could be one hundred times better if he would have taken more time to do research instead of rushing things. How could he though? Wayne has both the money and resources to accomplish building a time device. Who knows, he might have once been the goddamn Batman.
Powers, for the first time in a long while, felt apprehensive or even…dare he admit it…terrified. Doubts began to spread in his mind like the bubonic plague. His idea could very well destroy the future they are in now; plucking one of the team member's randomly could destroy the space-time continuum.
No matter, if that is the case he has still won. That is all that mattered.
Curious, he turned his computer screen. His face was lit up in blue light and the reflection of the screen he saw the city. He typed in hopes of finding an answer but after he taped a few keys out of the corner of his eye, he saw a shadow.
Inque. She was back.
"Finally," he spun his chair, "I…"
He trailed off, once he took in Inque's disheveled appearance. Scuffmarks decorating her body, trash stuck to her foot, and lots of dirt.
Inque interrupted and in a deadpan expression replied, "I ran into a hero."
Derek replied equally deadpan, "Which one."
Derek typed the name into his computer. He searched and found numerous articles, "Which hero did you abduct?" Inque sidestepped and revealed the unconscious heroine, "And what is her name?"
"You're not sure?"
"That's what I said didn't I?"
Derek sneered, "You've forgotten your place. NEVER, speak to me like that again. Now remember."
Inque took a small step backward, "I heard the name Artemis being screamed. So I'd assume Artemis."
"Good girl," he typed the name into the database. Nothing came up besides the Grecian Goddess.
Observing over his shoulder, she slunk back.
"You couldn't have brought anyone more 'famous'?"
"This one was the easiest to capture, the others were too well protected, and I figured she would draw less attention," Inque replied in a bored tone. She took the seat opposite Derek and stared into his glasslike eyes.
He thought carefully before speaking, "Fine. She will work. Now… we have to advertise this. Without alerting them that we know where they are."
Silence spread throughout the room and Inque scowled.
"Isn't something supposed to change here?"
Derek didn't respond, but prompted her to continue.
"Shouldn't the future be altered? We took someone from the past, shouldn't there be consequences?"
"Yes, but there is none. Therefore, there is no use worrying about trivial things."
Inque wished he would say more on the matter but she knew there was no use trying. This man was too secretive.
Derek took her silence and uttered, "We're just going to have to advertise a vague commercial, and hope they get the message. There is always the chance this won't work so we'll need a back-up plan."
Serious faces turned to mischievous glares.
Their smiles faltered when Artemis groaned.
*Four hours later*
Wally and Dick lounged on the plush couch. For once Wally was sitting still, zoning out with his eyes glued to the 3D television screen. Dick thoughts were more in depth, but not by much. The way the 'cartoons' were drawn in the future were strange and hard to follow, but they managed. Dick briefly exercised his creativity and decided once they got back; upgrading his tech would be a priority. Wally had picked up some of the 'hip' lingo and Dick would pick them apart, coming up with an antonym of some sort.
Bruce wasn't around, which was not usual in their time, and that bummed Dick out.
Bruce watched the lazy teens with a critical eye. "Too lazy, better give them something to do," he thought. He moved towards the stairs and located the teens; silently he ambled his way to the television. They barely reacted, as their eyes could no longer connect with the screen.
"Bruceee." Dick whined.
"You two need to do something other than watch television."
Wally huffed, and scoped another handful of popcorn out of the bowl.
Dick halfheartedly nodded.
Bruce narrowed his eyes and gave Dick a signature glare, the team all knew it well. Bruce noticed the remote and bent down to pick it up, allowing the teens glimpses of the screen. His finger rested on the 'Off' button but before he could press it, Dick and Wally jumped out of their seats.
Bruce stood up and followed the teens stare, Artemis, not in person….but on a commercial.
Bruce pressed rewind and watched the commercials beginning.
"A sofa commercial?" he thought
The commercial seemed standard until the demonstration. To claim that their sofa was the most comfortable thing affordable they zoomed in on the young Archer…unmasked, out of costume, and in sleepwear. She lay on a red sofa with yellow rims and robins decorating her sleep wear.
The shot lasted only several seconds and then big letters flashed in their faces. "SOFA FAIR! SOFA FAIR, SALE ENDS IN FIVE HOURS" Then in small print it said, "Sponsored by Wayne-Powers Enterprises."
The commercial ended and Dick and Wally exchanged looks.
"I thought you said Artemis betrayed the team…" Wally murmured.
An awkward moment passed by.
Bruce opened his mouth; Dick interjected and said grimly, "He lied."
Wally's eyebrows drew together in puzzlement, "But even Connor told us! Are you telling me he lied to our faces?"
"Yes," Bruce calmly answered.
The way Wally spat it out made it sound more like a demand rather than a question.
Realization hit Robin, "That's why Connor worded things strangely…I should have realized that his words had a double meaning…"
The old and decrepit Bruce watched Dick fume with anger and disappointment in himself, "Yes, the reason Superboy did not attack Artemis was because she was not there. Traitors will be something you will deal with, but Artemis didn't betray the team. She disappeared shortly after you two did."
Wally looked skeptically at Bruce, "You chose to keep this from us because?"
"It was not in either of your best interests, if I, or the team, told you, you would have gone searching in an instant."
Neither boy could deny that, but that did not mean they weren't pissed off. The second greatest detective sat down in defeat, and questions poured in like a flood, as well as the worst thoughts of all…doubt.
"So what do we do?" Wally asked
Dick glare flickered to Bruce.
"We're going to help Artemis."
Bruce understood Dick's anger and calmly stated, "Get ready; I will monitor you both while you try to locate Artemis."
Wally pumped his fist into the air and ran-off. Dick ran after him but stopped in the doorway, "Thanks."
When he smiled, Bruce felt himself wanting to smile back and his heart ached.
He scurried off and Bruce smiled, it felt strange on his face. It almost hurt… but in a good way. After waiting several moments, he headed towards the cave.
Robin and Kid Flash stealthily made their way around various pipes on the rooftop of the furniture warehouse where people milled about, hoping to score a nice couch.
Bruce's voice rung in their ears, *"Thermal scans show nothing out of the normal, the main event is held on the first two floors of the building. The top floor seems to be empty, I'd start there."*
"Gotcha." The boys muttered
Robin secured a rope on the edge of the rooftop and slid down to the top window. Wally watched him as he tried to pry the window open then looked around the rooftop of the building.
"It's not opening…" Robin muttered, "KF!"
He popped his head over, and smirked, "Yesss?"
"Check to see if there's any way we can infiltrate the building from there."
Wally yanked his goggles off his head and switched them to what he liked to call detective mode. He placed them back on his face and peered towards anything lit up. The worried red head—he wasn't worried about Artemis she'll be fine…hopefully—found a bolted down air vent.
"Rob?" he called out.
"Yeah?" replied the voice over his shoulder.
Kid Flash flinched and glared at his best—ninja—friend.
"Have anything to cut through this metal?"
Robin fished around in his belt.
*"Second pocket on the left"* Bruce said
The teen wonder pulled it out and smirked at the laser pointer.
He pressed on the comm. Link, "Because this is the future, I'm not going to judge its cover but I'll admit I am doubtful."
Kid Flash bowed aside and said, "Carry on!"
"Why thank you," he said before firing the laser. The laser sliced through the metal cover in under .5 seconds with minimal sound.
"Impressive," Robin muttered.
They dropped down onto the top floor and begun investigating.
"Surveillance systems cut off."
Robin took the west side of the building and Kid Flash took the east.
"Easy peasy," thought KF.
Robin has his gloved fingers sifted through a cabinet in the manager's office looking with expertly trained eyes. "Nothing," Robin thought with an exasperated sigh.
*"Rob, you might want to come see this…"*
Robin pushed the cabinet door closed and scurried off towards Kid Flash.
As soon as they made eye contact Robin could see, something was off, "Here, plug this into your computer."
The hacker did what he told him to do and a video popped up. To no one's surprise Inque was the one in the video, "Want your friend? Come to Wayne-Powers warehouse 41."
The video shut off and Robin's fingers flew soundlessly to attempt to block out the oncoming virus. Once accomplished, the boys looked at each other with dread.
A/N: Hello my avid readers, NightwingFan here…I'm just here to let you know that I'm planning the end of the story. It should be up soon. ANYWAYS. You know the drill: Read, hopefully like, and review. Seriously. I'm drowning in writers block and school. You'd really be making a lowly authors day…. :'(